Earl Clark was in line for a substantial pay raise after breaking free of an otherwise mundane four-year career.
Then came March and April.
The Lakers forward lost his spot in the starting lineup when Pau Gasol returned from a foot injury; Clark also lost his scoring touch. He averaged only 3.5 points in four playoff games, including a spot start in Game 4 after Metta World Peace was unable to play.
Clark, 25, made $1.2 million this season and would return to the Lakers as a free agent if he didn’t want too much of a raise.
"I want to be a Laker," he said Monday. "I had a lot of fun this season. It’s the first season I got an opportunity to play and just show people, the world, what I can do. I hope everything works out and I come back. I definitely don’t want to leave here being on one of the worst Laker teams in history. I don't want to be a part of that."
Clark averaged 10.6 points and 8.1 rebounds in January and February but dropped to 5.9 points and 4.3 rebounds in March and April.